Annual Abruzzese Salami and Sausage Making Extravaganza

Jan 28, 2014 2944

by Sandra Tornberg

More than 35 years ago a tradition was started by the late Giulio and Connie Badia. They opened their home to about ten paesani for the purpose of making sausage, salami, and prosciutto in the Abruzzese tradition.

Back in those days they started out with one hundred pounds of pork meat, and eventually worked their way up to almost six hundred pounds.

About ten years ago the operation moved to the home of Chris and Rosanne Pelino, where it takes place every year the weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday. They started out in the Pelino basement, but have since moved out to the heated garage. This year they bought 2,800 pounds of meat, which was made into 950 salami, 700 pounds of sausage (both meat and liver), and 1,150 pounds of prosciutto.

The meat is purchased at Mario's Meat Market in Eastpointe, whose owner is also Abruzzese. Preparations start early in the week, when seasoning packets are made and the casings are washed. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday three generations of Abruzzese families converge to chop, grind, and season the meat, and turn it into the finished product. There are as many as twenty-five to thirty people ranging in age from twenty to seventy five working together.

The core group consists of Chris Pelino, his brothers Frank and John, Corradino Bianculli, Vito Lumetta, Frank Simone, and Bert Mastronardi. The other participants are the Giannangeli, Maurizio, De Nardo, Di Franco and Badia families.

They continue to use the recipe that came from the town of Barisciano in the province of l'Aquila. However, there have been some modifications to the process. For example, Chris explained that they now buy casings that are already tied at one end, which has proven to be a timesaver.

The sausage, salami, and small prosciutto (prosciuttini) are hung to dry in the Pelinos' fruit cellar. The prosciuttini and salami hang for three weeks. They are pressed under boards for a few days then rehung until March. When ready, they are professionally shrink-wrapped in April and ready to eat in May.

The large prosciutto are cured in salt for a month, then washed in vinegar and water, seasoned with pepper, and hung to dry for a year to a year and a half in the fruit cellar at the home of Chris's mother, Rosa Pelino, under the watchful eye of his brother Frank.

Chris and Rosanne Pelino believe in perpetuating traditions, so they are happy to host this annual activity. Their son Christopher is an active participant. This year Giulio and Connie Badia's grandchildren Dominic and Anthony came to experience the tradition their grandfather started. This is what it's all about for these proud Abruzzese, not to mention getting to enjoy the wonderful delicacies they produce.

You may be interested